Exclusive Cover Reveal: Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

Deposing Nathan has a complicated premise, and I wasn’t sure what to expect going in…which made the experience of falling head over heels for it all the better. This debut is set at a deposition, where Nathan is testifying about the night he was stabbed by his best friend, Cam. What evolves throughout the novel is the story of how Cam and Nate came to be best friends, and how they watched that friendship develop into something neither of them expected and neither was prepared for. It’s a book about accepting a new identity, and how it isn’t the same experience for everyone. It’s a book that’s careful with its treatment of bisexuality in a rare way. It’s tense and gripping and compelling and unexpected and it all begins with this powerful new cover, designed by Meg Baskis. So check it out, along with an exclusive look at the first chapter, and get yourself ready for its release from Page Street on May 7! (Content warning: homophobic slur.)

Chapter 1

What you have to understand about Cam—and this is important—is that up until he jammed a shard of ceramic in my gut, he was the best friend I’ve ever had. I know why I’m here, Mrs. Lawson, and I know what you want me to say. But you’re not going to like it, because the fight wasn’t just Cam’s fault. If anything, it was mine.

Run. It’s Her.

She’s almost here—any minute now. I’m in my front yard, swallowed by the shadow of my house as my eyes dart between the front windows. No lights on. Ten minutes before She finds us—probably less.

Runrunrun.

Cam is farther down the sidewalk. Unlike me, he’s perfectly still, blocking the path between me and my front porch. His feet are rooted to the spot: steel girders in cement.

When I realize he isn’t going to say anything, I decide to.

“Out of my way, fag.”

Shit—that’s my own voice. I tighten my lips, but the word lingers in the air between us.

A wry smile jumps to his face. He spreads his arms wide. “You had a three-hour bus ride—”

“Don’t start.”

“—a three-hour bus ride to come up with something.”

“You think this is the time to screw around?” I cut him off. “Come on—move. I need to get inside.”

“I’ll move once you talk to me about what happened,” he says. Serious, now. And the way he says it—what happened. All delicate, like the words are dangerous.

“Listen, I’m not kidding,” I tell him. “She’s going to be home any second.”

“Better talk fast, then.”

“Oh, blow me.”

“Right here?”

Stop joking!” I shout, stomping my foot in his direction. He doesn’t flinch. I want to do something, anything, to wipe that confident smirk from his face. “Jesus, why are you still here? You get to go home to mommy and daddy and have them coddle away all your shit—”

“Yup!” he jumps in. “That’s exactly how it works! Hey, Mom and Dad, you’re going to get a call—”

“Stop talking.”

“Nate—”

“Stop.” My eyes latch back onto my house. Still nothing.

Cam steps forward, almost extending his hand but not quite. “Dude, come on. Let me help.”

It doesn’t even surprise me when he switches gears. I’m expecting it.

“No.” My voice cuts through the air. “Just go home.”

He doesn’t. Instead, he takes another step forward and touches my shoulder.

“Get the fuck off—” I try to hit his arm away, but he jumps back and I end up mostly swatting empty space. Right as I shove past him, he grabs a fistful of my shirt collar.

“Nate, we promis—”

There.

My fist plows into his jaw before he can finish the word. He stumbles back, his hands flying to his face. Blood. I don’t give him time to recover. I hit him again in the stomach, even though my fist is throbbing. As he doubles over, my front leg snaps up, catching him in the side. He yells and topples to the ground.

Everything after is a blur. I don’t stop to think or plan my moves, I just pummel again and again with my fists, my elbows, my feet. He’s yelling in pain now, a messy stream of blood is smeared across his face, his glasses are broken; he’s begging me to stop, and I still don’t.

This boy on the ground is Cameron M. Haynes, the same person who stabbed me. But this is the first piece you’re missing—the stabbing only happened after I beat him half to death.

Whether you like it or not, Mrs. Lawson, the truth is that Cam’s not the only one who did something wrong. And if you still think it’s more his fault than mine, then you really need to hear this. I’m just getting started here.

Deposing Nathan releases on May 7 and is available for preorder now.

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